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Posts Tagged ‘Child care’

Summer Sun and Heat Safety Tips

Keeping cool throughout hot summer months can be a challenge, especially in hotter and more humid climates. Tune in to the weather reports on exceptionally hot and humid days and share the tips below with your family.

Apply Sunscreen before Leaving the House

Whether you are headed to the pool, the beach or your back yard, make sure you apply sunscreen to yourself and your children. Don’t miss the tops of the ears and the hands. When applying sunscreen to the skin around the eyes, try using a tear-free sunscreen specially formulated for the face. Sunburns can occur in fifteen minutes of sun exposure and can even occur on cloudy days, so applying sunscreen before heading out and reapplying sunscreen throughout the day is important.

Keep Activity Levels Low When the Humidity Is High

Stay safe on extremely hot and humid days by keeping an eye on weather advisories and the Heat Index graph the National Weather Service publishes. If your children play outside in humid weather, have them come inside and drink water every fifteen minutes.

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

Children should typically drink five to eight cups of water every day, depending on how active they are.  On extremely hot and humid days, offer your children more than the recommended daily amount, especially before, during and after physical activity. Since children model their behavior on ours, we need to make sure we’re getting enough water every day, too.

Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Normal reactions to hot weather include heavy sweating, a red face, heavy breathing, thirst and muscle cramps. However, if your child exhibits these reactions along with dizziness, fainting, clamminess, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or a lack of sweat, your child might have heat exhaustion. If your child shows any of these symptoms, take your child indoors or to a shady spot and give your child plenty of water or an electrolyte drink. If the symptoms do not subside in an hour, seek the help of a doctor.  Keep your child indoors until all the symptoms clear up and your child is feeling better.

Play Indoors

If it is too hot and humid for outside play, try one of these simple indoor activities.

  • Create an indoor beach day. Unpack your beach towels, sunglasses and hats. Fill a large plastic bin with sand from your sand box or from a home improvement store. Put the bin on a blanket or sheet to catch any sand that may spill. Toss some beach toys in the bin and let your children play in the sand while enjoying your air conditioning.  Grab some favorite beach treats like ice cream sandwiches or popsicles.  Better yet, make your own ice cream sandwiches with chocolate chip cookies and your favorite flavor of ice cream.
  • Go fishing. Craft your own indoor fishing game by cutting a big piece of blue felt into a round shape, like a pond or lake. Lay the blue felt flat on the floor. Cut felt or cardstock into fish shapes and punch a small hole in the mouth area of each. Tie a lightweight washer to the mouth of each fish with yarn or twine.  Create a fishing rod with a stick from your yard or a dowel from a craft store. Tie one end of a long strand of yarn or twine to the end of the stick or dowel and tie a ring magnet to the other end of the yarn. Toss the fish in the pond and have your little ones take turns fishing. (You can also buy indoor fishing games online.)
  • Build a “sand” castle. Use blocks to build a castle with your children. Try different configurations and take pictures of each to capture your indoor beach day memories.

What do you do with your children when it is too hot to play outside?

BENEFITS TO CHILDREN WHEN BOTH PARENTS WORK

The Goddard SchoolThe Goddard School® community is continually growing. Families of all types choose our Schools to educate their children and nurture them into confident, joyful learners. Families bring their children to The Goddard School for the value of our early childhood education program. Often, both parents work full-time and are seeking the extended hours of care our Schools provide and The Goddard School’s playful, nurturing approach to learning. Parents and children experience benefits and challenges when both parents work. Here are some benefits:

  • Children receive developmentally appropriate lessons that parents may overlook or not realize their child is ready to learn;
  • Parents have added peace of mind knowing that their child is being prepared for elementary school;
  • When they are placed in a setting with their peers, children form strong socialization skills;
  • Children who spend time away from their parents at an early age may show less separation anxiety;
  • With parents both working, children adjust to a normal routine;
  • Teachers reinforce lessons about manners, sharing and other necessary life skills at school;
  • Parents appreciate the quality time they get with their children, and weekends with the family are highly valued;
  • Children learn to listen, communicate, cooperate and collaborate from spending time with people other than their parents;
  • Parents may find that time away from home filled with adult interaction is energizing and helps them appreciate their families.

While the choice to return to work may be a difficult decision for a mother or father to make, children can benefit if their parents both work.  The Goddard School collaborates with parents to ensure the children are getting the best possible care and the best early childhood education in a nurturing and joyful environment, which can be a huge help as parents navigate the world of parenting.

Grandparents to the Rescue!

Infant Boy WalkingOur energy-filled children can exhaust even the most active of grandparents—and us for that matter! If we are lucky enough to be able to count on beloved grandma,  great-auntie or another older family member to provide care for our little ones while we steal a few hours for ourselves, a night away or even just a less chaotic run to the market, a few advance preparations may help put our minds at ease.

  • Consider setting up the pack-n-play or nap area and a changing area on the main level to help alleviate the extra trips up and down the stairs for diaper changes, clean bibs, forgotten binkies and blankies.
  • If your child requires a specific diet, bottles or is just plain picky, prepare all meals/bottles in advance and place in a bin in your fridge. Clearly communicate what snacks are and are not okay for your child to have—a little spoiling now and then is acceptable, but some treats may be choking hazards or not age-appropriate, e.g. cookies may be fine, while chewing gum, hard candy and lollipops are not.
  • Pre-arrange your child’s sleeping area to include only the items that your child is allowed to nap/sleep with and communicate that to your caregiver. Remind grandma that the baby does not get an extra blanket and must always be placed on her back to sleep and your toddler may not bring additional toys or wear barrettes to bed.
  • Be sure that all dangerous items including cleaning supplies and medicines are out of reach, including anything that your caregiver may have brought in his or her suitcase or handbag.
  • Post (and point out) a clear list of emergency contact numbers, including your pediatrician’s office, Poison Control, a neighbor (if available) and your cell phone number—in emergencies, even memorized numbers may be forgotten. Encourage grandma to give you a call with any questions or to make the appropriate call if she feels help is needed.

Ask the Expert: Transitioning to Childcare

My daughter is currently cared for by my mom (her grandmother) while we are at work. I would like to move her to a center for a few days per week when she is 15 months old, mostly for additional stimulation and socialization. Can you please recommend steps we can take to make the transition the easiest on her?

Transitioning your child from home care to childcare is wrenching for every parent.  In fact, most babies and young children adapt to their new environment more easily than parents do.  And it’s important for parents to appreciate and care for their own emotions at this juncture.

As with so many things for young children, taking it slow and easy can work wonders.  If your child is moving into alternative childcare for the first time, make the transition gradual, providing lots of support.

  • Make sure your child meets the caregivers or teachers before moving into this new environment.  If you choose a childcare center or a preschool, make sure your child knows at least one other child in the class.  If your child doesn’t already know someone, ask the caregiver to suggest one or two children who might be good matches for your child, and set up a few play dates.
  • Talk to your child about the new arrangement, describing the friends to be made and the wonderful things to be done and learned.  Talk about being apart and getting back together.  Play games such as hide-and-seek that demonstrate being apart and together.
  • When moving to a new childcare arrangement, start gradually, if possible.  For example, allow your child to be alone at the childcare center for short periods at first, then slowly increase the time away from you.
  • Once the new arrangements are underway, get up a bit earlier so you have time together before you leave.  Also, make special family times in the evenings and on weekends.
  • Let your child take her favorite toy or “softie” to school.
  • Tell the caregiver or teacher of any factors that might influence your child’s behavior or needs for the day, such as a restless night, family illness or visits from relatives.
  • Be aware that separation anxiety may come and go in cycles.  You can ease your child’s upsets if you make your departure warm and smooth, staying long enough to let your child settle in, but without lingering.  And never sneak out or lie, telling your little one you “will be right back” just before you dash to the parking lot.  Your child needs to be able to rely on his trust in you as he navigates this new world.
  • When you pick your child up, ask the caregiver about what happened during the day.  Then discuss the day’s events with your child.

Self-Esteem Development

Infants

Self esteem begins with building trust.  You can build trust with infants by meeting their needs in a timely fashion.  When you respond to a child’s cry, you are showing them that they are worthy of care and love.  When you meet their needs consistently the infant trusts that they are consistently worthy therefore building self-esteem.

Music - Young Boy BToddler/Get Set (18-36 months)

Now that your infant has trust it is important to continue building trust into the Toddler phase.  Self-esteem comes from the picture the child has of himself as someone who can do things.  Toddlers believe they can accomplish certain tasks and supporting their independence builds confidence that they can succeed.  Offer your child activities that lead to success.  Toddlers are very successful at self-care activities such as getting dressed, cleaning up after self and helping around the house but they also enjoy new activities.  When planning your day, find ways for your Toddler’s involvement to be important.

Preschool  (36 months – 5 years)

A preschooler’s self-esteem is all about supported choices.  Unlike the Toddler phase when choices are made from selected options, a preschool child’s actions are the choice.  Preschool children are attracted to specific activities such as blocks or art.  Goddard teachers will support that child’s choice to stay in that center every day and take the learning skills to the child.  By doing so, the teacher has supported the child’s choice.  The child interprets this as “If my choice was supported, I am good because my choice was good.”  Consistent support will lead to the child’s trust in his own decision making, therefore building self-esteem.

Pre-K/K  (5+ years)

Pre-K and Kindergarten children build self-esteem through skill mastery.  You may see your Pre-K child go back to old familiar activities or repeat activities.  This process of experiencing past successes builds confidence.   Ask your child open-ended questions to find out what they are thinking and know about their own activity.  After your child displays their knowledge inquire with “what if?” questions to draw out the next level of curiosity.   Social skill success begins to play an important role in self-esteem.  Offer opportunities for new social opportunities in anticipation of the next step to Kindergarten or First grade.

Child Care Prep Tips for Parents-to-Be

Expectant parents have a lot on their minds from shopping for playpens, to stocking up on diapers, to baby proofing the house. They also have to make a decision about child care. If both parents are going back to work after the baby’s arrival, one thing that must be added to the checklist is finding high-quality child care.

Start Early
The best time to begin researching child care providers for your infant is before your child is born. It might sound a little silly to begin your search so early, but there are a few good reasons to do so. Many families reserve their children’s spots early on, creating long waiting lists at many child care providers. A mom-to-be who waits until the last trimester may encounter some restriction in going out and taking a tour, especially if she needs bed rest. The sooner you find a provider that you are comfortable with, the sooner you can relax and enjoy the time with your newborn.

Location
Another factor to consider is location. You may feel more comfortable having a child care provider close to home, but you’ll need to think about whether this creates problems with picking your child up on time after work due to traffic. You could also choose a location closer to your work, but this could create problems if you ever work from home. If you choose to breast feed, it is more practical to pick a location near your workplace, this way you may be able to go to your baby and nurse. Find out the designated area for breast feeding and if there is a quiet place where you can do this. A few other questions to ask is which parent will be primarily responsible for dropping off and picking up your child, or will you share that role. If you’re sharing the role perhaps you should find a child care provider that is centrally located.

Health & Safety
There is nothing more important than your child’s safety, and when it comes to health and safety there is no question too big or small. Find out if proper hand washing techniques are being utilized. Go ahead and ask about diapering procedures, and whether the location is cleaned every day by a professional. Be clear about any illness policy that determines when children are too ill to attend. Take a tour and see for yourself if the environment is clean and inviting. With all of the concern over immunizations these days, it’s important to ask if the school requires a medical screen and updated immunizations in order to enroll a child, and if the teachers have to provide a medical screen as well.

Director and Teacher Qualifications
You’ll certainly want to find out if the school employs teachers with education and experience in Early Childhood Education. Don’t assume that the school requires ongoing teacher training and development, ask about their plans for ongoing professional development. Make sure to inquire whether teachers are required to have first aid/CPR training. It’s important to know if children are supervised by sight and sound at all times and if the group sizes are small. Smaller group sizes and low teacher-to-child ratios ensure better supervision and safety. These ratios vary from state to state, so inquire about regulations.

Getting a third party opinion is not a bad idea either. You shouldn’t base your decision solely on that, but getting input from friends and family definitely helps in making a decision. To get a real sense of what the typical day is like at the child care provider, you should also make it a point to visit during hours of operation. Plan ahead by asking about other classrooms as well so that you can see the program that your child will attend as he/she grows.

Michele Borba: Study Finds Impact of Child Care on Teens

by Dr. Michele Borba
Reality Check: Blogging About Parenting Issues and the Solutions to Solve Them
Posted on May 14, 2010

Over 2.3 million American kids under five are cared for at day care centers. If you’re like most parents, I’m sure you’ve pondered the age-old question: “What impact does child care have on my child? Now there’s an answer.

A federally funded study by the Early Child Care Research Network just released results that will have parents and educators alike on alert.

I shared those results with Ann Curry this morning on the TODAY show. Here are key discoveries from this fascinating research:

Since 1991 researchers have been tracking over 1364 families. Children in the study were randomly selected at birth (all born within 24 hours of each other) from 10 different American locations and have been followed since one month of age. Upper, middle, and lower income families were represented. Investigators examined how differences among families, children and child care arrangements might be correlated to their health as well as intellectual, social and emotional development.  The children were evaluated periodically, most recently at age 15, with a host of measures. The study is significant because it is first to track children representing all demographics and incomes a full decade after they left child care.

Key Findings Parents and Educators Should Know

  • As the researchers point out, “Parents have far more influence on children’s growth and development than any type child care they receive.”
  • Academic and behavior gains from child care that endured until age 15 were slightly higher when children were involved with “high quality child caregivers.” High quality is defined as caregivers who warm, supportive and provide high quality cognitive stimulation.
  • Teens who were in high-quality child care settings before age 5 scored higher on measures of academic and cognitive achievement.
  • Specific academic areas (in order) that showed the highest gains at age 15: Reading, Vocabulary, Verbal Analogies, and Math.
  • Teen also reported fewer acting-out behaviors than peers who were in lower-quality child care arrangements during their early years.
  • Teens who spent more hours in child care in their first 4½ years of life reported a greater tendency toward impulsiveness and risk-taking behaviors (taking drugs, smoking, and alcohol) at age 15 than did peers who spent less time in child care.
  • More than a decade after parents stopped those day care payments the behavior differences were still evident.
  • Though differences in these measures among the youth were deemed small, researchers still considered them significant since the gains latest until age 15. Translation: high quality care giving in the early years affects children’s social, academic, and behavioral development in the teen years.

For parenting strategies and 101 other issues refer to my latest book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries. You can also follow me on twitter @MicheleBorba and subscribe to my daily blog, Dr. Borba’s Reality Check on my website, MicheleBorba.